Teddy Bear Cookies

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Decorate-A-Teddy-Bear Cookies

Decorate-A-Teddy-Bear Cookies

Don’t be alarmed that these teddy bears don’t have any faces!  They are decorate-a-teddy-bear cookies, and are mean’t to be decorated with edible food pens.  Ever since I decided to throw my son a teddy bear picnic party, I have been crazy about teddy bears.  I thought these cookies would make a fun project for the kids to decorate at the party, and I really like that they can be made in advance and frozen. I made all of the teddy bear cookies in advance and froze them completely decorated.  At party time, it was a cinch to pull them out and let them thaw.  These cookies are guaranteed to bring a smile to your party guests, and even the parents will enjoy getting in on the decorating action!

Rolling the dough

Rolling the dough

Begin with a great sugar cookie recipe.  My Excellent Sugar Cookie recipe is the one I always rely on.

Dough Thickness

Dough Thickness

You want to keep the dough thickness consistent.  I roll it about 1/4″ thick.  This makes for sturdy cookies that don’t break easily.

Teddy Bear Cookie Cutter

Teddy Bear Cookie Cutter

This is a Teddy Bear Comfort Grip Cutter from Wilton. It’s about 4″x 4″, just to give an idea of the size of these cookies.

Teddy Bear Cookies, unbaked

Teddy Bear Cookies, unbaked

I was able to fit eight cookies per sheet.  I baked them for about 12 minutes.

Teddy Bear Cookies, cooling

Teddy Bear Cookies, cooling

Once they are just slightly browned on the edges, they are done.

Making the royal icing

Making the royal icing

Now that the cookies are cooling, you can make your royal icing.  I love Bridget Edwards’ royal icing recipe.  I colored this icing with Americolor Warm Brown and Chocolate Brown gel pastes.

Piping Bag

Piping Bag

I use a #2 decorating tip to pipe the outline on the cookies.  I like to keep my piping bag closed securely using a clothes pin, and I like to keep it tip down in a pint glass with a wet paper towel at the bottom.  This keeps the tip from drying out while you’re working.

Outlining cookies

Outlining cookies

I like to outline all of my cookies before flooding any of them.  It makes it easier if you can get an assembly line going.

Flooding the cookies

Flooding the cookies

Once you are done with all of the outlining, it is time to make the flood icing.  To do this you will add water a few drops at a time to the royal icing (the icing you have already colored and used for piping).  You want to thin it to the point that when you drop a ribbon of the icing from a spoon it disappears into the icing after a few seconds.  Once it is the right consistency, transfer it into a squeeze bottle and use that to pipe the icing onto the cookies, working with about three cookies at a time.  If you squeeze the icing onto the cookie, and it runs out to the border, you have thinned it too much.  In my experience, icing that is thinned to much remains tacky and doesn’t fully dry.  It may also become grainy in appearance.  When you have the right flood icing consistency, you should use a toothpick to guide the icing to the borders of the outlined cookie until it is completely covered.

Wet icing

Wet icing

While the icing is drying, it will be very shiny.  The cookies should take four to six hours to dry.

Aqua royal icing

Aqua royal icing

I wanted to add some extra detail to the cookies since I wouldn’t be adding any faces, so I settled on bow ties for the boys and pearls with bows for the girls.  I used some of the uncolored royal icing I had leftover to make an aqua shade.  I piped the bows, pearls and bow ties using a #2 decorating tip.

Teddy Bear cookie with pearls

Teddy Bear cookie with pearls

For the girl teddy bears, I piped the pearls and bow directly onto the cookie.

Polka dot bow ties

Polka dot bow ties

For the boy teddy bears, I piped bow ties onto parchment paper.  I let them dry and then attached them to the boy teddy bear cookies using a small bit of royal icing.  I used the very tip of a toothpick to get the white polka dots onto the bow ties (do this while the icing is still wet).

Boy Teddy Bear Cookie

Boy Teddy Bear Cookie

I stored the finished cookies in Ziploc freezer bags stacked in a plastic storage container.

Cookies packaged for freezer

Cookies packaged for freezer

The key to defrosting the cookies is to remove the plastic container from the freezer, remove the lid, but DO NOT remove the cookies from the container or their individual freezer bags.  Just let them thaw at room temperature for about 4 hours.  You will notice that there may be condensation forming on the outside of the bags.  This is a good sign!  The cookies are thawing and the moisture is collecting on the outside of the bag rather than on the cookie itself.

Ready for decorating

Ready for decorating

Now you are ready to decorate the cookies.  Get all of your friends together and have a cookie decorating party.  There are a ton of edible pens on the market. I used a few different brands, and found that they all seem to work very well.

Girl Teddy Bear

Girl Teddy Bear

You can have a lot of fun getting creative with these cookies.  When the guests are ready to go, they can take home their treats, if they haven’t already eaten them!

Decorated Teddy Bear Cookies

Decorated Teddy Bear Cookies


Rocket Pop Cookies

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Rocket Pop Cookies

Rocket Pop Cookies

When my little boy turned one, I wanted to make his party extra special.  I needed a way to make an extraordinary party with a little time.  I love things that can be made in advance, and cookies are one of those things that add extra pizzazz to a party and can be made and stored easily.  I found this rocket cutter, and I knew it would be perfect.  I wanted these cookies to stand up so that they could be used as a standing element on a dessert table.  I also wanted to package and give out the rest of the cookies as party favors.

Cutting out the rocket cookies

Cutting out the rocket cookies

It all starts with cutting out the cookies.  I always use my Excellent Sugar Cookie Recipe, and roll the dough about 1/4″ thick.

Rocket cookies on mat

Rocket cookies on mat

I like to use a non-stick baking mat, like the Silpat mat shown here, because nothing sticks and I am able to use little to no flour when rolling out my cookies.

Rocket cookies on baking sheet

Rocket cookies on baking sheet

I used 4-1/2″ lollipop sticks for the rocket pop cookies.  I laid out all of the sticks and then placed one cookie on top of each stick and pressed down gently. You can see from the picture that the sticks went about halfway up the rocket cookies.

Baked rocket pop cookies

Baked rocket pop cookies

Here are the baked cookies cooling on a rack.  Always make sure they are nice and cool before you begin decorating.

Rocket pop cookie assembly line

Rocket pop cookie assembly line

I set up an assembly line to begin decorating the cookies.  To get the red icing I used AmeriColor super red gel paste in the royal icing. I outlined the cookies with a Wilton #2 tip and filled in the center with flood icing using a squeeze bottle. The cookie icing recipe is from Bridget Edwards, who has an amazing blog, Bake at 350.  I let the red icing dry a bit before piping on the white details.  All of the details are piped with a Wilton #2 tip and the white icing is brightened with AmeriColor bright white gel paste.

Rocket pop cookies up close

Rocket pop cookies up close

There were a few bubbles in the red icing here and there, but overall the cookies came out nicely.

Packaging the cookies

Packaging the cookies

For the favors, I slipped each cookie into a clear bag and tied a ribbon around the bottom.

Rocket pop cookies with ribbons

Rocket pop cookies with ribbons

For the remaining cookies, that were for the dessert table, I stored them in Ziploc containers.  I stored the packaged cookies in Ziploc containers as well, to preserve the freshness.  Just before the party, I stuck the cookies in their places on a Styrofoam stand I covered in scrap paper.  I think this makes such a pretty display for a dessert table.

Rocket pop cookies in stand

Rocket pop cookies in stand


First Communion Cake

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First Communion Cake

First Communion Cake

This is a cake that I made just last week for my goddaughter’s First Communion! First Communion is a pretty big deal, and I have never made a religious cake before, so I was a little bit stumped on the design.  My goddaughter, Kylie, is such a wonderful, talented, beautiful little girl and I needed to make something extra special for her big day! Luckily Kylie let me know that she wanted the cake color scheme to be purple, pearl, and black! Gotta love a girl who knows what she wants!  Such a sophisticated choice as well!

Purple Fondant

Purple Fondant

It all started with the purple fondant.  I really wanted a beautiful shade of lavender, but once I started the coloring process, I got more than I bargained for.  I just could not get the shade that I wanted with my “go to” Americolor gel pastes.  I tried both Americolor Royal Purple and Americolor Violet, but the violet was too blue, and with the royal purple I kept ending up with muted dull mauve colors that just looked dingy. I started adding Americolor Fushia to the mix and ended up with a slightly better shade, but it was still not ideal. I decided to try a completely different brand of coloring, Wilton neon purple.  I’m not sure if you can buy this color individually; I had it as part of a Wilton neon colors set, so I thought I should give it a try.  To my delight, the Wilton neon purple created a perfectly pretty shade of purple.  The first four colors (starting on the left) in the photo above were created with Americolor Royal Purple and Americolor Fushia gel pastes combined. The two colors on the far right are colored with Wilton neon purple.

Before - Purple/Lavender

Before – Purple/Lavender

After - Cornflower Blue

After – Cornflower Blue

 

 

 

 

 

 

One more thing about purple…it fades like crazy! After coloring my fondant I wrapped it in plastic wrap and let it rest overnight.  When I woke up the next morning, my beautiful shade of lavender had changed to cornflower blue. Argh! In the face of this disaster I went online to see what other people were saying.  I found that this was a common problem that some said could be fixed with baking soda, if you add it before the fade occurs. I couldn’t save the original batch, so I started fresh with some new fondant and added 1/4 tsp baking soda per 4 ounces fondant.  I couldn’t find any exact recommendations on the quantity, so this was a test. I again let this set overnight, and I woke up to fondant that was still lavender, but seemed to have darkened a bit more than normal.  I determined that although the color was darker than I had planned on, it would work.  During this process I got to thinking back on other purple cakes that I have made.  I realized that my purple gumpaste has never faded.  I don’t know why this is, but it seems that when you add tylose to fondant (this is how I make my gumpaste) it protects it from fading.

First Communion Invite

First Communion Invite

Once I past the first hurdle, it was time to work on design.  I took a cue from the invite and used a silhouette portrait of Kylie to make a personalized child praying silhouette. I used an x-acto knife to cut through the paper template and etch the silhouette outline into black gumpaste.

Frame for silhouette

Frame for silhouette

The shape of the invite lent itself to being the frame for the silhouette.  The frames and silhouette are cut from rolled gumpaste using an x-acto knife with a new blade.

Silhouette

Silhouette

The background of the invite gave me the idea for stenciling the bottom tier of the cake.  I found a damask cake stencil that I could stencil onto the cake with royal icing.

Masking the cake

Masking the cake

This was my first time working with a cake stencil, and it turned out that my cake was shorter than the stencil. I could have cut the stencil to the right height, but the stencil was expensive, and I still wanted to be able to use it on a taller cake.  I masked off the portion that I didn’t need with masking tape so that the top edge would be clean.

Stencil with royal icing

Stencil with royal icing

I made one batch of royal icing and thinned it slightly with water to use as my stenciling medium.  I spread it onto the stencil with an offset spatula, and then removed the stencil. The stencil worked alright, but I found that stenciling on a round cake is much more difficult than stenciling on a square or rectangular cake.  The stencil needs to have direct contact with the cake to make the stenciling come out crisp, clean, and uniform thickness.  On a round cake, your sides need to be perfectly square all the way around so that there are no gaps between the cake and the stencil.  My cake had relatively square sides, but there were some varying gaps, and as a result the stenciling was not a uniform thickness all the way around and there was some blurring.  One length of the stencil was not enough to go around the cake completely, so I waited 15-20 minutes for the royal icing to dry and then applied the stencil to the remaining area of the cake.  I overlapped the stencil so that the pattern would line up seamlessly. On a round cake, I can’t see a way around having a seam.  The place where the stenciling finally meets up will just be the back of the cake.  Again, on a square or rectangular cake, you won’t have this problem.

Stenciled Bottom Tier

Stenciled Bottom Tier

You can see the uneven thickness of the royal icing in this photo as well as some of the blurring.  Even though this is an imperfection, it gives it texture, and adds some old-world charm to the cake.  It feels like it could be part of a beautiful old cathedral.

Gumpaste pearls

Gumpaste pearls

I still needed to incorporate pearl into the cake, and the thought that gumpaste pearls would be lovely for the bottom border.  I use a 4mm pearl mold to make the strands of pearls.  The key to making pearls is to brush your pearl mold liberally with pearl luster dust.  I used CK Products Super Pearl Luster Dust here. I make all of the pearls and then trim off the excess with an x-acto knife before applying them to the cake.

Gumpaste pearl border

Gumpaste pearl border

The pearls make a very elegant touch, and they are deceivingly simple to make. I wrapped the cake drum in a lavender satin ribbon. I am so fortunate to have such an amazing goddaughter, and it was such a pleasure making her First Communion cake!

 


Daffodil Cookies

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Daffodil Candy Cup Cookies

Daffodil Candy Cup Cookies

Spring is finally here, and nothing makes me happier than seeing the cheery bright yellow daffodils that bloom this time of year!  Daffodils are my favorite flower, and last year I came across a cute little craft project on Martha Stewart’s website – making paper daffodil candy cups.  I loved the look of these delightful decorations and thought why not make them edible! So this year I turned them into a cookie with a candy cup center.  These cheerful cookies would be the perfect accent for your Easter table.  I’m thinking of putting a cookie at each guests plate; I could even write a name on each cookie and use them as place cards. They would be beautiful for a baby or bridal shower as well!

Cutting out cookies

Cutting out cookies

To make the cookies, I started with my Excellent Sugar Cookie recipe.  I used the daffodil template from Martha Stewart’s site to make a card stock guide to cut out the cookies.  I reduced the template to 85%, but I’m sure it would work at full size as well.

Cookies on sheet

Cookies on sheet

I baked the cookies on a Silpat non-stick baking mat.  I love using these mats because the cookies slide right off, and they make for easy cleanup!

Cooling the cookies

Cooling the cookies

While the cookies are cooling, you can get the icing ready!  I have tried a lot of royal icing cookie decorating techniques and recipes, and I have not always been successful.  Through a lot of trial and error and searching, I came across a book called Decorating Cookies by Bridget Edwards.  This is the most amazing cookie decorating book I have found.  It has tons of tips, tricks, and methods for creating beautiful cookies, but most importantly it features what is, in my opinion, the perfect foolproof royal icing recipe, and the author, Bridget Edwards, has very kindly allowed me to feature that recipe here!  Thank you Bridget!!! I should also mention that Bridget has a wonderful blog where she shares more of her lovely cookie creations and insight!

Outlining the cookies

Outlining the cookies

I used a bit of Americolor lemon yellow and egg yellow gel pastes to get the right shade for these cookies. I used a number 2 tip to outline the cookies with royal icing.

Filling in the cookies with flood icing

Filling in the cookies with flood icing

Next, working with three or four cookies at a time, I filled in the cookies with flood icing.  Flood icing is just royal icing thinned with water.  It is the icing you use to fill in the outlined area of the cookie.

Using a toothpick to drag icing to the edges

Using a toothpick to drag icing to the edges

I like to use these funny little picks called Bamboo Forks to drag the icing to the edges of the cookie.  The ends of these picks are wider than a toothpick and I find that they really help me nudge the icing into those far corners. After I had covered the three or four cookies I was working with in yellow flood icing, I immediately piped the white dots onto the cookies.

Piping the dots

Piping the dots

Piping the white flood icing dots on top of the yellow flood icing was a bit intimidating, but it actually worked out great! Following the advice in Bridget’s book, I added the same amount of water to both icings (the yellow and white) to make sure that the flood icings were the same consistency.  For the white flood icing I added Americolor bright white gel paste to get a super white finish, and to help me get the polka dots pretty uniform in size I used these tiny little squeeze bottles.  I use these bottles a lot for chocolate details, but they came in really handy for these cookies as well!

Letting the cookies dry

Letting the cookies dry

Once I had piped all of the polka dots, I breathed a sigh of relief and let them set out to dry.

Shiny, glossy cookie

Shiny, glossy cookie

I love the shiny, glossy sheen on these cookies.  It took about six hours for the cookies to dry.  I usually plan for them to dry overnight just to make sure they are completely set.

Filling candy cups

Filling candy cups

Okay so I feel like this project is getting a bit long now, and the cookies are cute just as they are, but if you’re still as excited as I am about daffodil candy cup cookies, stay with me! I promise it’s worth it! I filled these little fluted candy cup molds with candy melts.  I like to use a baby feeding spoon to drop a dollup of candy coating into the mold cavity.

Back of baby spoon

Back of baby spoon

You can use the back of the baby spoon to push the chocolate up the sides of the mold.

Orange Candy Cups

Orange Candy Cups

I made these candy cups in two colors, because I wasn’t sure which I would like better.  I just let these candy cups dry at room temperature (it is 65 degrees in my house this time of year) for about 20 minutes, but you can stick them in the fridge to get the candy coating to set up even faster.

Jellybeans

Jellybeans

Now time to sort the jelly beans!  If you have a little helpers, this is a great job for them!  Just be aware that one or two jelly beans may go missing!

Jelly beans and Candy Cups

Jelly beans and Candy Cups

I used orange and yellow jelly beans, but you could fill the candy cups with other candies like Reese’s Pieces or anything you like!

Royal Icing glue

Royal Icing glue

I saved a bit of royal icing to use as glue to stick the candy cups to the daffodil cookies.  Royal icing is very strong and just a small dab is enough.

Placing candy cup

Placing candy cup

By pressing down in the center of the candy cups, I made sure my daffodil centers were completely stuck.  I allowed about fifteen minutes to make sure that the royal icing was dry before filling the cups with jelly beans.

Daffodils in a row

Daffodils in a row

Put these little treats in cellophane bags and tie a ribbon around the top and you have an irresistible favor or gift!

Packaged Daffodil Cookie

Packaged Daffodil Cookie

Royal Icing
Author: 
 
The perfect royal icing for decorating sugar cookies! Recipe as printed in Decorating Cookies by Bridget Edwards.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup meringue powder
  • 1 scant cup water (meaning not quite full)
  • 2 pounds (32 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
Instructions
  1. In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the meringue powder and water until foamy and combined.
  2. Sift in the powdered sugar, add the corn syrup, and mix on low speed until the powdered sugar is incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula. Increase the speed to medium-low and beat for 5 minutes.
  3. Increase the mixer’s speed to medium-high and continue beating, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. To check for stiff peaks, take the beater off the mixer and hold it so that the icing is pointing up in the air. If the peak is floppy, keep beating. If the icing holds a point and keeps that point when jiggled, you have a stiff peak.
  4. Note: Be careful not to overbeat the icing, or it might become flaky when applied to the cookie. Keep a close eye on the glossy sheen; overbeating will cause it to go dull.
Notes
This is my favorite foolproof royal icing recipe for decorating sugar cookies! Bridget Edwards, an amazingly talented and creative cookie artist, very kindly allowed me to feature this recipe from her book, Decorating Cookies. Thank you Bridget!

 


Valentine’s Cookies

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Valentine Cookies

Embossed Valentine’s Cookies

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and while it is getting closer by the minute, it’s not too late to make some lovely cookies for your sweetheart!  These cookies are pretty perfect for a Valentine’s party or fun project.  You can make them as simple or detailed as you like, and who can resist a delicious decorated sugar cookie?

Embossed Quilted Heart

Quilted Heart Cookie

Love Heart Cookie

Love Embossed Cookie

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made these cookies with a clever cookie set that lets you use texture mats to imprint the details into fondant. The cookies look intricate and detailed, yet the process is very straightforward.  If you have shaky hands and shy away from piping, this set is perfect.  With the texture mats, you can get the look of a beautifully piped cookie, without the work.  The cookies are beautiful plain or embellished, and mistakes can always be eaten! See below for a step by step on making these cookies.

Cutting the hearts

Heart Cut-out Cookies

First you need to start with an excellent sugar cookie recipe.  This one is my favorite; the dough is so irresistible that a lot of the cookies don’t even make it to the oven!

Rolling Cookies

Rolling pin and cookies

Heart cutout cookies

Baked cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you’ve got your cookies baked and cooled, now it is time to decorate!  This is the fun part!  To decorate about 14 cookies you will need about 7 ounces of fondant.  Use any colors you like.  To get the pink color I used, use a 3 to 1 ratio of Wilton rose gel coloring and Americolor burgundy gel paste.  For 7 ounces of fondant I used 3 drops burgundy and 9 toothpicks (half dipped) of the rose coloring.  While I generally stick with Americolor gel paste, I prefer the Wilton rose color to the Americolor pinks.  I sometimes end up with too much of a Pepto-Bismol pink with the Americolor and with the Wilton Rose you can achieve more of a raspberry.

Texture mat and fondant

Embossing fondant

You want to roll your fondant to about 1/8″ thick.  Spray your texture mats with non-stick spray and wipe away the excess.  You can press the mat into the fondant using either side of the mat.  One side will make a raised impression and the other will make an indented impression.  I opted for the indented impression with the exception of the love mat.  It only works one way or else the writing will end up backwards.

Imprinted pink fondant

Imprinted fondant

Embossed fondant hearts

Texture mat hearts

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have trouble with the texture mat sticking to the fondant try to let the fondant set out a bit (5-10 minutes) after you roll it, or use a tiny bit of cornstarch on top of the fondant to make it less sticky.  I think these look lovely just imprinted, but for extra oomph you can add some piped dots at the intersection of the lines on the quilted cookies, and some painted accents to the love and baroque heart cookies.

Painting heart cookie

Painting “Baroque” Heart Cookie

Painting "Love" Heart

Painting “Love” detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

To paint the accents I use a mixture of Wilton White Pearl Dust, Vodka, Royal Icing, and gel paste (1 drop Americolor Sky Blue and 2 drops Americolor Teal).  Just mix the gel paste, pearl dust, vodka, and royal icing until you get the consistency of paint.  The royal icing is optional.  I added it because I had made it already to pipe the dots on the quilted heart.  It makes the “paint” a little bit thicker and more opaque.  If you don’t use it, the paint will just be a bit more transparent.  They key to painting the details is using a teeny tiny brush.  I used the very smallest one I have.

Painted Baroque Heart Cookie

Baroque Heart Cookie

Piping details

Piping on heart cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

To pipe the dots on the quilted cookie, I used a #2 tip, and added a 1:2 ratio of sky blue and aqua to get the turquoise colored royal icing.  After you have piped the dots, look back to see if there are any pointy dots.  If so, just press down gently with the tip of your finger to smooth the peak into a nice rounded dot.  As long as your icing has not set too long, this should work. To attach the fondant hearts to the cookies, I used just a bit of thinned royal icing (since I already had it) spread over the cookie, and then just gently pressed down to get the fondant to adhere.  You could also use piping gel if you have it on hand.  I hope you have fun with this project.  There are so many variations and possibilities!  I would love to see your designs, so please post a picture if you give it a try!

Valentine's Close-Up

Heart Valentine Cookies

Excellent Sugar Cookies
Author: 
 
My favorite sugar cookie recipe for making cut-out cookies!
Ingredients
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and sugar.
  3. Using a pastry blender cut in the butter until particles are fine and crumbly.
  4. In a small bowl, using a fork, beat the egg, heavy cream, and vanilla.
  5. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients.
  6. Stir until dough comes together. Using your hands, combine and knead the dough into a uniform consistency.
  7. Roll out dough to about ¼” thick on a floured surface or non-stick baking mat.
  8. Cut out shapes and place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet (or cookie sheet lined with a non-stick baking mat) and bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are just slightly brown.
  9. Cool for 5 minutes, and then transfer cookies to a cooling rack and enjoy or let cool completely and then decorate!
Notes
Note: For cookies with super sharp edges, freeze cookies on cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes (or refrigerate for 15 minutes) before baking.